Junior dos Santos risked it all when he opted to take another fight rather than waiting for heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez to recover from shoulder surgery. It was a roll of the dice that paid off, as he dismantled former interim champ Shane Carwin Saturday at UFC 131.
Coming off a coaching stint on “The Ultimate Fighter 13,” dos Santos was expected to take on Brock Lesnar. Unfortunately the Minnesotan is dealing with his second bout of diverticulitis, which paved the way for Carwin to step in at the 11th hour.
“Cigano” used his superior technique and speed to pick apart his 265-pound counterpart en route to a landslide unanimous decision victory. Dos Santos can now look forward to competing for Octagon gold.
It’s a bout that’s long overdue, but one the Brazilian believes will be the toughest of his life.
“My biggest challenge is coming because Cain Velasquez is the champion,” dos Santos said at the post-fight presser. “I will be ready for him.
“The best part of Cain is his cardio and his wrestling, too. I’m learning very fast, I will try to defend his takedowns and use my boxing. I always look for the knockout and that [fight] won’t be anything different.”
Dos Santos was so impressive during his 15 minutes of dominance that even Velasquez had to give him props.
“He looked great. He showed awesome standup, just like in all of his fights. He’s always improving. He’s the number one contender, I’m excited to fight somebody like this,” Velasquez said.